Extension educates newly elected officials

A significant election on the federal, state and local levels produced a crop of newly elected officials. Michigan State University Extension educators and specialists historically have offered their expertise to these decision makers.

The Legislative Leadership Program took place Dec. 2-4 at the James B. Henry Center for Executive Development on the MSU campus. MSU Extension and the MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research led by Director Doug Roberts cosponsor the program that provides training for new members of the Michigan House of Representatives.

The structure of the program has changed a bit as there was less “talking to” the legislators and more group interaction.

Since 1994, we’ve been holding a training every two years for newly elected legislators. Michigan voters elected 30 new House members this year and 24 took part in the program.

It’s inspiring to meet these individuals who have dedicated their lives to public service. They come to the program with a tremendous amount of energy, having just completed nine or more months of door-to-door campaigning. They also demonstrate a refreshing interest in working together and across party divisions.

In addition, we have a history of presenting training for newly elected county commissioners going back to 1968. MSU Extension’s Government and Public Policy work group facilitates six 5-hour sessions around the state. Nearly 20 percent of the 626 county commissioners attend. We provide resources and training to help prepare them for their new roles.

I’m inspired by those who step forward to serve, and I’m proud of our Extension colleagues who educate and assist them.

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